Advent with Bella

The Virgin Mary has come to live at my house. Sometimes she also answers to the name Bella.

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Can you see the baby Jesus tucked in her mantle?

Today she even dressed the part, wrapping herself in my lap blanket and cradling her ‘Baby Jesus’ doll.

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This evening I found her giving baby Jesus a bath in her play kitchen’s sink.

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Does anyone else’s creche look like this?

We decided to leave the Nativity scene down where the girls can reach it. It means that sometimes I find Mary and Joseph in Bella’s room. Often I find Sophie tossing sheep and shepherds under the dining room table. And last night I found that all the figurines had been evacuated to stand under Ben’s play chair so that the stable could become a parking garage for Bella’s cars.

But then again this morning Bella was holding the Mary figurine and singing Immaculate Mary. And then evidently St Joseph was singing, “King Herod, King, king, king, king Herod… Baby Jesus’ Birthday…. King, king, king, king Herod…”  I heard a passing reference to the journey to Egypt… a long way away.

Every day her play becomes for me a sort of Shepherd’s play, a way to enter into the preparation, a way to meditate upon the mystery of his coming. If only I pause to listen.

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